A corporation is a separate legal entity, usually used to conduct business. Corporations exist as a product of corporate law, and their rules balance the interests of the shareholders that invest their capital and the employees who contribute their labor. People work together in corporations to produce. In modern times, corporations have become an increasingly dominant part of economic life. People rely on corporations for employment, for their goods and services, for the value of the pensions, for economic growth and social development.

The defining feature of a corporation is its legal independence from the people who create it. If a corporation fails, shareholders only stand to lose their investment, and employees will lose their jobs, but neither will be liable for debts that remain owing to the corporation’s creditors. This rule is called limited liability, and it is why corporations end with “Ltd.” (or some variant like “Inc.” and “plc”).

Despite not being persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like actual people. Corporations can exercise human rights against real individuals and the state,[1] and they may be responsible for human rights violations.Just as they are “born” into existence through its members obtaining a certificate of incorporation, they can “die” when they lose money into insolvency. Corporations can even be convicted of criminal offences, such as fraud and manslaughter. Five common characteristics of the modern corporation, according to Harvard University Professors Hansmann and Kraakman are…

delegated management, in other words, control of the company placed in the hands of a board of directors limited liability of the shareholders (so that when the company is insolvent, they only owe the money that they subscribed for in shares) .

investor ownership, which Hansmann and Kraakman take to mean, ownership by shareholders.

separate legal personality of the corporation (the right to sue and be sued in its own name)

transferrable shares (usually on a listed exchange, such as the London Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange or Euronext in Paris)

Ownership of a corporation is complicated by increasing social and economic interdependence, as different stakeholders compete to have a say in corporate affairs. In most developed countries excluding the English speaking world, company boards have representatives of both shareholders and employees to “codetermine” company strategy. Calls for increasing corporate social responsibility are made by consumer, environmental and human rights activists, and this has led to larger corporations drawing up codes of conduct. In Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, corporate law has not yet stepped into that field, and its building blocks remain the study of corporate governance and corporate finance at